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Filene report outlines eight i3 ideas
MADISON (9/6/12)--The Filene Research Institute has released eight concepts devised by its i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation) team in a new report.

The ideas, described in Filene's just-released "Key Findings: Blueprints for Innovation" report, are designed to solve pressing consumer and credit union problems, Filene said.

The eight ideas include:

  1. The Working Together Mortgage--A mortgage product that helps a first-time homebuyer obtain an 80/20 mortgage without having to have 20% cash for the down payment. It uses the equity from a relative's home pledged as part of the down payment.
  1. Pick a Dream--A consumer loan connected to a bonus savings account. Linking existing borrowing needs to savings gives members a convenient method to plan for the future while paying down debt.
  1. CU Pocket Banker--A smartphone application that members can use to contact and receive service from their credit union. The app provides members with a single point of contact, along with all the other features they expect through mobile banking, eliminating the need for multiple methods of accessibility.
  1. Cover Me--Text messages that notify a member when an item has been presented that will overdraw their account. Using existing technology, the text message gives the member the opportunity to authorize a transfer of funds from an external source to cover the presented item.
  1. The Retirement Positioning System--An interactive tool that helps members navigate complex investment rules, create budgets and consider alternative scenarios for planning and maintaining their income through retirement. Members enroll through an online portal and sit down with a financial expert, who goes through the member's income sources and expenses and sets up a portal.
  1. The Smarter Gift Card--A way to give recipients a starter savings account at a credit union and access to financial services they can use for years to come--the opposite of what a traditional gift card provides.
  1. The Student Loan with Benefits--A student loan that supports the student in finding employment and a career in their field.
  1. Flash Note--A mobile payment platform that the credit union member activates through a smartphone. The member selects the payment type, and a two-dimensional quick-reference (QR) barcode is rendered. The member presents the device at a participating merchant, who scans it using its existing infrastructure. The QR code becomes invalid immediately after use, and the transaction is placed in the member's online account history.
The open-source ideas are free to be used by credit unions, Filene said in the report. Each concept is scalable, but further testing is needed, Filene said.
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